3 Feb 2011

Fiji gets stronger backing from other Pacific countries at ACP trade meeting

2:11 pm on 3 February 2011

With the backing of seven Pacific countries belonging to the African, Caribbean and Pacific group which is supported by the European Union, Fiji has again pushed for its full participation at future ACP meetings.

The Pacnews agency reports a proposal, tabled by Fiji's delegation head, Solo Mara, received strong support during this week's ACP trade discussions in Apia.

One trade official says most Pacific ACP member countries agree that Fiji needs to take back its seat at ACP meetings, especially since it is one of the two countries in the region that has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement, an EPA, with the EU.

Another told Pacnews that it's good to see some of the smaller countries speak up in support of Fiji, with strong and unconditional sentiments offered by members to encourage Fiji back into the fold.

But Samoa was the sole dissenting voice, citing Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum as the reason it cannot be allowed back to ACP meetings, organised by the Forum's secretariat.

Fiji's participation at the ACP trade officials and ministers meeting in Apia this week has been made possible at the invitation of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, of which Fiji remains a member.